This will be our third and final week in this series. This post is a bit different from the other two posts about reading the Word and prayer. Those topics are expected when talking about the basics of Christianity. This week, I felt a gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit to end this series talking about something that might be a little less expected: character and integrity.
My favorite definition of integrity is the one that I learned in youth group: “Integrity is who you are when no one is watching.” This week, I want us to ask ourselves that question: who are we when no one is watching?
Are we preaching one gospel publicly, but living other lives privately? Do we show up to church on Sunday but then cheat, lie, steal, and gossip throughout the week? I know those are tough questions. Please don’t hear judgement from me. I am asking myself the same questions.
As Christ followers, we are expected to live with character and integrity that separates us from the world. God has charged us with the awesome responsibility of sharing His love and light with the world. He wants us to bring color and joy and vibrancy with us wherever we go.
Because of this calling on believers, there are naturally going to be eyeballs on us. God designed it that way. People are watching to see if Jesus is as kind and loving as we claim. Our behavior proves whether or not this is the case.
This is an important season to remember that the world is watching us. 2020 has been one for the books. Emotions are charged and extremely high with all that we’ve been through this year. We need to be especially mindful with the election just a few days away.
We are expected to live above reproach but we are not expected to make ourselves better. God just requires us to submit and surrender to His Word and to spiritual leadership. God puts His children through a continual process of discipleship and purifies us through the hardships we face.
We have all messed up and have things in our pasts that we aren’t proud of. In fact, my parents are here visiting and brought boxes that they’ve been keeping in storage for me. In the most hilarious, ironic moment ever, I am sitting here writing this post about the importance of integrity, and my mom pulls out a receipt from when I got detention in the 6th grade for cheating on a test.
“As a prisoner of the Lord, I plead with you to walk holy, in a way that is suitable to your high rank, given to you in your divine calling. With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. Be faithful to guard the sweet harmony of the Holy Spirit among you in the bonds of peace,” (Ephesians 4:1-3 TLB).
“And I will give you a new heart—I will give you new and right desires—and put a new spirit within you. I will take out your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love,” (Ezekiel 36:26 TLB).
“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies,” (Proverbs 31:10 NIV).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law,” (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV).
The fruit of the Spirit was designed for us (and others) to gauge where we are with our character and integrity. My encouragement for us this week is to just do a simple heart check. Are we known for our love? Are we known for gentleness? Self-control?
No matter where you find yourself, let’s choose character and integrity. Let’s get back to basics and model character that is worth following.